Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wolfman America and The Angels of Terrorism-DAFA

Wolfman America played at Brandon's NYE bash in Freeport at around 3 or 4 in the morning and it was quite zen. i had never met this dude before then and i think his name is Mike. From what i hear, he's been attending some sort of ongoing forest retreat in the Northwest where they basically show you how to survive in the woods with no commodities. This here is a CD-R released on Chicago's Mosstapes label. Plenty of lo-fi noise-folk on this here gem. The insert says this was recorded in Palatine, IL and Seattle, WA. Sounds like it was done on a handheld tape recorder in a warehouse. All the songs are burned as one track. The song that grabbed me when i saw him play live starts about twenty minutes in, called "Where Death Is Always a Fresh Face," according to the liner notes. You can listen to some very different sounding stuff on the dude's myspace. Get ready, Amerika.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things Falling Apart-Disintegrating!

TFA had a particular sound that would sort of integrate itself in to my brain processes while seeing them play live. Everything about that band just felt natural; from how they played together as a group to how the sounds came and went at just the right times and allowed your mind to breathe. This instrumental epic post-rock masterpiece is their third and final full length (i guess it would be their fourth if you count Bob's first solo album under the same name). The band went through a few line up shuffles over the years and i was always impressed at how well their sound adapted to these changes. i had the honor to play with TFA at their last show ever in August of 2009. It was such a memorable experience for so many reasons, but mainly it was just great to finally partake in this music that just seemed to feel so natural in the first place. Hailing from Dekalb, IL, this is yet another in a long list of truly amazing bands/musicians from that town. i heard they got big in Japan.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Guy Blakeslee-13 Unreleased Songs 2002-2006

Guy Blakeslee is the front man for the LA based psych-rock outfit, The Entrance Band. Guy's early material is much more folk/blues based and was released under the name "Entrance." i found out he self-released this CD-R of songs a year or two ago and i asked him about it when i saw the band play Denver last year. He said i could order it through his website but since i didn't have a credit card i just gave him cash on the spot. After a few months of emails and returned mail, i finally received this homemade cd from him. There's a couple alternate versions of Entrance songs on here, mostly in the folk/blues vein as well as a a few covers of some traditional tunes like "Cocaine Blues" and "Mary, Don't You Weep." There's also a really great Joan Armatrading cover on here. Really good stuff. Guy's voice can be quite chilling at times but completely spot on. His range is just incredible. Check it out, Darling.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Willow Folk Festival 2006 - Fireside

Round 2 here of the Willow 2006 recordings. i transferred these recordings a few years back, but upon recent listens i feel like i probably have more recordings from that year somewhere. There's a lot of the Chris Bathgate/Michigan crew on this one here. These takes are all after hours campfire jams from Saturday night. Throw another log on the fire.

Willow Folk Festival 2006 - Stage Performances

Willow Folk Festival is a down home cornfield folkztravaganza that takes place in northern Illinois near where i grew up. It is a strongly rooted yearly tradition for a lot of the attendees, including myself. It is a two day event that allows people to camp in the cow pasture across from the church for which the festival raises money. A hay bale wagon is positioned as a make shift stage that is open for performances during the day. At night, numerous fireside jam sessions occur until wee hours of the morning between peoples of all different ages, backgrounds, and musical ability. In 2006, i started bringing my handheld tape recorder to document the commencement of amazing peoples and amazing musics. I have countless cassettes chronicling the last 4 years (except 2008 when my recorder was rained on) and have been meaning to digitize and organize the recordings in some sort of fashion. So here, for your listening pleasure, is the first of many volumes of my Willow tape recordings. This batch is solely performances from the stage during saturday and sunday as opposed to the more rawkus campfire jams (soon to come). I don't know the name of EVERY artist or song so i just left everything labeled as "various artists." This compilation is by no means ALL of the performers from that year, but mainly my favorites of the lot. Plus i wouldn't have enough tape to record EVERYBODY that plays. Folk it up.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Little Howlin' Wolf-7" Songs

This man needs no introduction to those that are familiar with the badssness he exudes. i will, however, attempt to summarize a bit about this individual here. Little Howlin' Wolf is an outsider experimental blues musician hailing from Chicago's south side. His history is far too vast to do justice here, but he was a regular fixture as a street musician during the 70's through much of the 90's appearing at places like Maxwell Street and Michigan Avenue playing everything from sax to guitar to double nose flutes and whatever else he could lay his hands on. His approach to music is so true and pure in its seemingly haphazard style that one comes to realize only much later that this in and of itself is a skill that few people possess. i've had the great pleasure to befriend this man over the past 5 years and even record some of his music. It is truly an experience to interact with this man and i am even now having trouble putting it in to words. Here is what his official myspace says for his bio:

"Chicago street musician, bluesman, and actor, Little Howlin’ Wolf, was born James R. Pobiega, Aug. 23, 1950. Of Polish decent, the grandson of a gravedigger and “moonshiner”, and son of a milkman, Pobiega grew up in the working class neighborhood of Justice, IL, a town located on the southwest outskirts of Chicago. Due to his large 6’6” stature, and tenacity on the football field at Argo High, he quickly earned the nickname, ‘Beowulf’, which was later shortened to ‘Wolf’. After high school, he briefly attended The Goodman Theatre in Chicago, IL., and although quite successful, he would soon realize that music was his calling. A self-taught musician, Wolf would gather up his guitar, harp, and saxophone, and hit the streets of Chicago, performing his original blues and jazz compositions, wherever and anywhere he could. Given his voice was filled with a natural booming, yet gravelly, soulful, and bluesy sound, he was given the moniker, Little Howlin’ Wolf, in respect to fellow bluesman and predecessor, Howlin’ Wolf. A name he was honored to receive, and still embraces to this day.
During the 1970s, Wolf started his own record label SOLIDARITY SOLIDARNOSC RECORDS, with subsidiaries ALCATRAZ, BEACON, and JUSTICE. Since then, he has recorded and released over two volumes of singles and three full length albums; THE GUARDIAN (1982), THE COOL TRUTH (1985), and his latest, BRAVE NU WORLD (2005). A cultural student and teacher, and advocate for the people, Wolf has brought his music and messages for peace and understanding all over North America and Europe, and has been featured in many blues and jazz magazines, as well as People Magazine. He has also performed a wide variety of other types of original music under the names; Deacon Blue, Papa Doc (spiritual and tribal), Bo Tom Ed (his comedic country character), The Shadow Drifter (folk), and Buccaneer Bob (a pirate character he uses to entertain children shows).
In recent years, Pobiega has returned to acting. He has been a part of Chicago’s theatre scene, and been in a handful of independent short and feature films, working alongside Willy Laszlo, Tim Kazurinsky, John Borowski, Ed Asner, and Judge Reinhold. He has also earned his Captain’s license for boating, became a SCUBA instructor, and found the time to return to the football field in an independent-hobbyist football league outside Joliet, IL. With the help and permission of Solidarity Solidarnosc Records, Little Howlin’ Wolf’s albums have now been released onto CD by the Baltimore-based, Nautical Almanac’s EHSE Records. "

The post here is dubbed from a slew of Wolf's 7" singles i've collected from from him over the years, released on his own Solidarity label or subsidiaries (mentioned above). From what i understand, Wolf plays ALL the instruments you hear on these recordings.

Radar Eyes-S/T

This album is some of the best rock and roll i've heard in a long time. They somehow manage to encompass all that is awesome about this genre without making it lame or overdone. i'm always a huge fan of any hint of psychedelia in my rock and roll and these boys use just the right amount, especially on the last track "Long Road Home." Many thanks to Dustin from Plustapes for giving me the go ahead to post this as well as a clean digital copy. If you like what you hear, then please go buy this tape from the Plustapes website. This cassette label has a knack for putting out nothing but quality stuff with great looking art. If you've ever loved rock music to any extent, then you need to listen to this album.

M. Pyres-Used To Sail

Good friend Matt Sage, the mastermind of M. Pyres, forwarded me this sweet compilation of unreleased M. Pyres material that he put together for this blog. I have to say that this some of my favorite M. Pyres music to date. I'm particularly partial to the song "Radar Dust." Matt tells me he used to sail a sunfish boat as a youngster (hence the title) and talked of how that played a part in his music over the years. There are definitely some dream coated seaworthy sounds on this mostly instrumental experience. There is also a beautiful collaboration here with Sterile Garden, experimental Colorado musician (expect more from him on this blog in the future). Sail Away.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

This Old World's In A Hell Of A Fix

This old-timey, religious folk/blues comp was ripped from vinyl and given to me by my good buddy, Ben. The story of how he came across this is pretty neat. Ben worked at a now defunct record store in Colorado where, some years ago, a relative of Dawn Greening came in to sell the recently deceased's record collection. Dawn Greening was essentially the founder of Chicago's Old Town School of Folk Music, conducting the first classes from her living room in 1957. More info on Dawn Greening can be found here. Ben picked up the majority of the store's purchase at a reasonable rate and scored a buttload of cool stuff. This comp is downright stunning at times. It includes "Let Jesus Lead You," a very early Skip James recording (later adapted by Beck on "One Foot In The Grave"), as well as a track by Washington Phillips. Both of these artists had recordings reissued years later by our beloved Mississippi Records. One of my favorite tracks is the Reverend Robert Wilkins singing "Old Time Religion" which may or may not be the origin that Captain Beefheart pays homage to when he sings similar lines. i don't know much about the label or the year this comp was issued as Ben owns the original vinyl. Maybe he'll post in the comments? Be forewarned that the rip is a bit crackly, due mostly to the age and quality of the record. i think it adds to the overall listening experience, though. Thanks to Ben for this. We certainly are in a hell of a fix.

Quiet Hooves/Dream Scene-Split E.P.

i saw Quiet Hooves play about a month ago and was pleasantly surprised. A fun group of folks making catchy avant-pop tunes from Athens, GA. The song Hott R Nott has been my wake up call ever since picking up this split ep from them. If you like what you hear, you can download more of their stuff for free from their collective website, here.

icarus syndrome-lord calverts cave

Well, here i am jumping on the blogwagon. My intentions with this blog are mainly to post music that i haven't been able to find elsewhere in the blogosphere. i will begin with a rip of one of my favorite recordings of all time, no lie. icarus syndrome's "Lord Calverts Cave," released on the cassette label, Rugburn Records, in the summer of 2006. i find myself coming back to this recording time and time again, never tiring of it's haunting tones. A bit of a back story of what this album means to me:

Andy gave me this cassette in conjunction with Vondervotteimittis (which can be found here) that fateful summer. The boys and i had been digging the sounds for a few weeks at the old Treehouse on Barry St. in Chicago. i especially took a liking to it and seemed to be primordially drawn to the incessant beautiful drone tones. Brandon and i took a stroll to the local liquor store around this time to peruse the whiskey. On the bottom shelf we noticed one called "Lord Calvert". "Holy Shit!", i exclaimed, "this must be what Andy's album is referring to!" Neither of us was familiar with the Lord at that point. We picked up a handle and headed home. The rest of the night got kind of blurry for me. There are strange mystic properties at work in Lord Calvert whiskey that none of us were expecting. It was a different KIND of drunk for all of us, i think. Things were very intense, loud, and primal. The last thing i remember clearly was Dave beating on the stove with a screwdriver to the beat of a Black Sabbath song. i remember feeling a strange introspectiveness magnified like never before on other whiskies while still maintaing a social character. When i came to in the morning, i was face down on the couch with my head hanging over the side staring at a pile of my own drool. Dave informed me that later in the night i not only opened up to him and cried on his shoulder but that i slipped and gave my head a crack sometime in the course of the night. i remember none of this. The rest of the guys had similar experiences of their own pertaining to the force of which the Lord cast his will upon them. The profound and almost ethereal onslaught of opaque epiphanies that this whiskey brought me immediately made sense in the context of Andy's tape. Since then, the Lord has been present at countless nights of intense truth searching with close friends, naked camping trips, the craziest of Sinners' shows, and more. Andy later made a trio of songs dedicated to Lord Calvert on his October Cassette album, concluding with one titled "The Retirement of Calvert." i've said it before and i will say it again; getting hammered on this whiskey (not just drunk, but HAMMERED) is like looking in to the depths of the human soul with all its beauty and ugliness congealing as one undeniable truth.